BOSTON, Mass (WWLP) – More than 100 representatives and senators urged budget writers to include $15 million for fuel assistance in the FY20 supplemental budget.
According to a news release sent to 22News from the Massachusetts Association for Community Action, a state allocation of $15 million will allow Community Action Agencies to help vulnerable households get deliveries of 100 gallons.
MASSCAP Executive Director Joe Diamond, said these deliveries could make all the difference in getting these households through the winter. It will also allow for protection of gas and electric customers against potential termination following the moratorium.
Approximately 160,000 households benefit from fuel assistance each year.
Given the cold temperatures in New England, there is concern for the health and well-being of low-income households, especially the over 40,000 households that heat with oil. “Most oil heat households have used up their federal fuel assistance benefit,” Diamond said.
The news release states that over the past few weeks representatives and senators added their name to letters to the House Ways and Means Chairman Michlewitz, Senate President Karen Spilka and Senate Ways and Means Chairman Rodriguez in support of the funding request.
The senate letter stated the following:
“Absent this funding, families are forced to make difficult and often dangerous choices to heat their homes. In many cases, they opt for an alternative approach such as a space heater, stove, or fireplace, which increases the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Otherwise, they must make budgetary trade-offs that can jeopardize children’s health, choosing heat over food or health care. Seniors, veterans, families with children and others are counting on our Commonwealth to provide the home heating support they need, particularly in light of the federal reductions.”Senate letter sent in a news release from Massachusetts Association for Community Action
The letter from the House of Representative says, “Current funding levels would drastically undermine the program’s ability to bridge an important gap in the day-to-day lives of residents; falling short of the three-to-four tanks of oil typically required to heat a household throughout a typical New England winter, available funds would only make 1¾ available.”